10 January 2010

Thirty Years On American Soil

Thirty years ago today I stepped onto U.S. soil for the first time. To be exact, it was U.S. tarmac, but you get the idea. Before that I spent a few weeks in Singapore and prior to that a few months in Indonesia. It was a long way from Viet Nam. Some day I will drill into more details about my experience as a boat person, but today the story is what I remember of that first few days in a new land.

  • I don't recall ever having motion sickness before, not even on the indirect plane ride from Singapore to the U.S. However, when Uncle Ping drove our family from JFK airport to his home in Sheepshead Bay, sitting in the front passenger seat, I felt dizzy.
  • The first time ever taking a bath in a tub, I spent a long time in it. I filled the tub with water and played with Cousin E's toy ship, I think it was an aircraft carrier of sort. It was not until Auntie knocked on the door that I finished up. Eek, I was a bad guest!
  • The first pie of pizza was not very welcomed. We probably never had cheese before in our life.
  • I may be wrong but in offering soda to us Uncle Ping referred to the drink as "leung tsa" (凉茶) or "cooling tea". To me, that was the bitter or tasteless stuff that my father used to make us drink to negate the effect of fried food and other bad stuff. The whitish soda, probably a Sprite, was not bitter or tasteless at all.
  • Uncle Ping probably thought that we were going to stay in the area for a while. He took me to some school to register for class. I do not remember learning anything that one day. I think I did not even spend the whole day there.
Good grief, that is all I can remember of the momentous day. Not until high school that the idea of keeping a journal or diary came to me, so all I remember of the day is what little I myself can recall and whatever my siblings and parents, or maybe Uncle Ping's family, can recall.

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